Since March, we’ve been growing sunflowers for a mass citizen science experiment as part of Alan Turing’s Centenary celebrations. With your help we hope to solve the mathematical riddle that Turing worked on before his death.
Alan Turing, perhaps best known for helping crack the Enigma Code during WW2, was fascinated by how maths works in nature. The spirals of seeds in sunflower heads often follow a special pattern of numbers called the Fibonacci sequence. Turing noticed that the Fibonacci sequence often occurred in sunflower seed heads. He hoped that by studying sunflowers it might help us understand how plants grow, but he died before he could finish his work.
Turing’s Sunflowers is our tribute to Turing and, if enough people grow, we can collect sufficient data to put Turing’s and other scientists’ theories to the test. Everyone who submits data from their sunflower will be included as part of the Turing's Sunflowers group and referred to on academic publications that result from the experiment.
So far over 10,000 sunflowers have been pledged by growers in 13 countries around the world. Check out the growers map, it has to be seen to be believed!
Growing a sunflower? Get involved…
If you are already growing a sunflower you can still register to take part and share your sunflower diaries, stories and pictures with us and participate in our forthcoming sunflower growing competitions.
We’ll be presenting the results of the experiment at the festival, alongside the Sunflower Diaries movie about the project and an exhibition of sunflower photos.
For regular updates and to find out more about the experiment visit our dedicated website, www.turingsunflowers.com.
Turing’s Sunflowers is a MOSI initiative in association with Manchester Science Festival and supported by The University of Manchester and Manchester City Council.
The project partners are:
BBC, Corridor Manchester, Creative Tourist, Manchester Garden City, The Manchester Museum, The National Trust and Jodrell Bank, The Manchester Leadership Programme, Open Data Manchester, RSA Fellowship and STEMNet.